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Africa@home: Volunteer Computing for Africa

Annual Call for Projects 2006


In this project supported by the Geneva International Academic Network (GIAN) the research team proposes to adapt several epidemiological simulation programs modelling important humanitarian challenges facing Africa, so that they can be run in a distributed fashion using "volunteer computing" technology. This technology, made famous by projects such as Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI@home), can routinely harness the power of tens of thousands of personal computers for important scientific causes. Members of the public who "volunteer" their computer in this way simply download free, open-source software that runs the scientific project of their choice whenever their PC is idle.

This action-oriented, interdisciplinary project will involve teams of students with backgrounds in computer science and epidemiology from African and European institutions working together to set up and test the volunteer computing applications. Thus, a secondary aspect of this project is to favour intercultural relations and dialogue between North and South, involving students, scientists and institutions. The focus will be on the practical application of knowledge from the disciplines of computer science and epidemiology.

This approach was pioneered in a successful pilot project for malaria epidemiology called Africa@home, funded by a GIAN "Small Grant" in 2005. The objective of this project goes well beyond that of the pilot project: the ultimate goal is for African academic institutions to establish the know-how necessary to run volunteer computing projects themselves. Also, the scope of the volunteer computing applications developed within this project will be broadened considerably to include epidemiological studies of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, as well as malaria. Such diseases are a major obstacle to social equity, sustainable development and global competitiveness in trade and commerce for most of Africa. To achieve these wider goals, this endeavour involves a range of new stakeholders - compared to the pilot project – both in...

The grant provided by the GIAN for this project totals SFr 194,000

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Project Team

Prof. Christian Pellegrini , Coordinator, Computer Sciences Department , University of Geneva (Unige) .

Prof. Bastien Chopard , Principal Member, Computer Sciences Department , University of Geneva (Unige) .

Mr Silvano de Gennaro , Principal Member, Software Without Borders (SWB) .

Mr Manjit Dosanjh , Principal Member, European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) .

Mr François Grey , Principal Member, European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) .

Ms Viola Krebs , Principal Member, Intenational Conference Volunteers (ICV) .

Mr Ben Segal , Principal Member, European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) .

Mr Brian Williams , Principal Member, World Health Organization (WHO) .

Related Links

> Afica@home , Click here.

> AIMS Workshop on Volunteer Computing

> ICVolunteers

> 3rd Pan-Galactic BOINC Workshop

Related News

Related Conferences

WHO Lunch Time Seminar on Health Grids: The Africa@home Project – 17 November 2006
The large computing power made available through volunteer computing can be harnessed for health projects. Africa@home...
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Volunteer Computing for Africa: Workshop in South Africa, 16 - 22 July 2007
An intensive one-week workshop will be offered to qualified African students interested in the new technology of...
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Volunteer Computing for Africa: Third Pan-Galactic BOINC Workshop – Château de Penthes, Geneva - 5-6 September 2007
This workshop on BOINC, linked to the GIAN-supported project “Volunteer Computing for Africa” which will take place in...
> more